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'Tis the Season for Holiday Scams

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) offers holiday shopping tips to help consumers protect themselves from substandard or even hazardous counterfeit toys, electronics, cosmetics and other products.

IPR Center partners Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and The Toy Association are teaming up to ensure consumers can make educated decisions when searching for the best deals this season.

Counterfeit goods not only cheat the consumer with substandard and potentially hazardous products, but the websites used can also put shoppers at risk of having their personal and financial data stolen for other nefarious purposes. Online shopping is particularly vulnerable to scams that trick the user into buying counterfeit and pirated goods.

Among the tips the IPR Center is providing for holiday shopping:

  • Purchase goods only from reputable retailers and be wary of third-party vendors.
  • Read product reviews on websites and research companies you aren’t familiar with.
  • Check seller reviews and verify there is a working phone number and address for the seller, in case you have questions about the legitimacy of a product.
  • If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t buy expensive items from third party websites.
  • Take advantage of security features. Passwords and other security tools add layers of protection if used appropriately.
  • Check privacy policies. Take precautions when providing information, and make sure to check published privacy policies to see how a company will use or distribute your information.
  • Check your statements. Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately

Source: New toolkit helps consumers avoid scams while holiday shopping | ICE